Event: Talladega 250, Race 19 of 23 (Race 3 in the Round of 10)
94 Laps – 20/20/54; 250.04 Miles
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway(2.66-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 3, 2020 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Chatter about Chandler:
Chandler Smith and the No. 51 iBUYPOWER team head to Talladega Superspeedway for the third and final race of the Round of 10 in the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series owner’s playoffs. The No. 51 team enters Saturday’s race ninth on the playoff grid, two points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8. The eighth spot is currently held by their teammates, the No. 18 team. KBM has captured a series record seven owner’s titles since its inception in 2010, including last year’s crown with the No. 51 team.
Saturday’s race will mark the 18-year-old driver’s first career start in any series on a superspeedway. Smith did take part in ARCA Menards Series testing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in January, but since he was not 18 yet, he was only allowed to make single-car runs.
After a tough start to his 2020 Gander Trucks season, which saw Smith finish 20th or worse in each of his first five starts, the Toyota Racing Development product has righted the ship and enters this weekend’s event with the momentum of back-to-back top-five finishes. The Georgia native finished fifth at both Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and last week at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
In addition to his limited Truck Series schedule this year, the Toyota Racing Development prodigy is also competing in his third season of part-time action in the ARCA Menards Series. He has made 12 starts in ARCA this season, winning twice: at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway in March and at Lucas Oil Raceway in Claremont, Ind. and finishing in the runner-up spot four times. Across 32 career ARCA Menards Series starts, Smith has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 4.9. His series-leading five wins helped propel the No. 20 Venturini Motorsports entry to an owner’s championship in 2019.
Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman leads the No. 51 team in 2020. Stockman called the shots for Austin Dillon’s championship efforts in both the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (2011) and the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2013) and has experience as a crew chief in all three national series. In Dillon’s Gander Trucks championship season, the pair totaled two wins, five poles, 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The majority of Stockman’s experience atop the pit box has come in the Xfinity Series, where his drivers have recorded seven wins, 19 poles, 80 top-five and 148 top-10 finishes across 209 starts from 2012 to 2018. Stockman’s drivers have an average finish of 7.5 across two starts at Talladega in Truck Series action, with a best result of seventh coming with Dillon in the 2011 event.
The No. 51 team leads the Truck Series with four wins, three with owner-driver Kyle Busch and one with Brandon Jones, and laps led (396), fastest laps run (248) and is tied with the No. 2 team for the series lead in stage wins (seven).
iBUYPOWER will adorn Smith’s No. 51 Tundra at Talladega and use the partnership to promote their newest gaming system. iBUYPOWER’s all new Element CL gaming system comes rigged with a robust custom hardline liquid cooling system to keep your PC cool and running on all cylinders. With up to a 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processor and a 2080 Super GPU, iBUYPOWER’s Element CL is packed with enough power to keep you turning corners in the latest racing simulator. All Element CL systems come pre-filled, leak tested, benchmarked, and plug-and-play ready.
Talladega will be the 400th race for the Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. The manufacturer has recorded 197 wins in the series, including 79 from KBM, and eight driver championships, including KBM drivers Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
Chandler Smith Talladega Q&A
You made single-car runs in the ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona earlier this year. Anything you can take out of that into Talladega?
“Considering this is my first superspeedway race, I’ve had only one experience with it and that is two laps at Daytona in an ARCA car. It wasn’t in the draft, just clean air. I’m going in like every other race with a clean, fresh notebook. I’m ready to write down whatever notes after the race. We are going to go after them with our iBUYPOWER Tundra and get them.”
How will you prepare for your first superspeedway race?
“I’ve watched a lot of film, talked to my teammates, and talked to the crew chiefs. We have a good game plan as far as what we’re going to do in the race. We need to get as many stage points as we can and just survive. That’s going to be the biggest thing. If we get there at the end, hopefully we will have a shot at the win.”
What is your goal for Saturday’s race?
“I think the goal is like every other weekend: go out there and win. This is a little bit different. I think a more realistic goal for this weekend is to go out there, survive and get a decent finish. You need to have a full points day. That is the biggest goal for us as a team and me as a driver. I really want to win one of these races. As a team, we need to make the next round of the owner’s playoffs. As a driver, I want to win, so that it what it is.”
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
Across 12 career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series starts has recorded 91 laps led, five top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.8.
Produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2019. He led 55 laps and finished eighth in his Gander Trucks debut at Iowa Speedway last July and then posted top-five finishes in his final three starts, including a runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 4.9 across 32 career ARCA Menards Series starts. Set an ARCA Racing Series record by winning four consecutive poles to start his career and earned his first victory after leading a race-high 102 laps at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in his fourth series start.
Chandler Smith No. 51 iBUYPOWER Tundra:
KBM-64: The No. 51 iBUYPOWER team will race KBM-64 for Saturday’s race at Talladega. The Tundra captured the pole, led 21 laps, won the opening stage and finished 12th with Riley Herbst in its debut race earlier this year at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!